When you begin the arduous task of researching a project, it is easy to see the initial costs in front of you and walk away. However, in these situations it usually pays off to look a little deeper.
When it comes to choosing what type of flooring you want to install, price is going to be a huge factor in the decision process. This is where being shortsighted can come back to bite you. Some questions that should come to mind are:
- How large of a project is this?
- What is your short term/long term budget
- How long does the flooring need to last?
If these questions resonate with you in any way, you might want to consider engineering your project for a life cycle value. By value-engineering your project you can perform a Life Cycle Cost Analysis, also known as a Cradle-to-Grave Analysis, to realize your full investment in terms of how your decision can affect your budget over the life of the floor. To perform a Life Cycle Cost Analysis you need to take into consideration all costs for owning, operating, maintaining, and disposing of the product. This includes:
- Installation Materials
- Contractor overhead and profit
- Maintenance (physical and aesthetic)
- Final costs to remove the flooring
The Tile Council of North America, Inc. recently performed a Life Cycle Cost Analysis on 12 of the most popular flooring options, including everything from carpet to porcelain ceramics. The results are listed in the table below.
*Per Square Foot Data taken from the Tile Council of North America
As you can see from the results of the test, ceramic and porcelain tiles have the longest expected lifespan with 50 years, driving the cost for its overall life cycle ($0.33 – $0.39) significantly lower than carpet ($1.26) and vinyl ($1.41 – $1.85) products, which need to be replaced periodically.
Because properly installed tile can last a lifetime, it is no wonder it is one of the greenest, most sustainable ways to build. By contributing to various credits, ceramic and porcelain tiles can help you attain LEED Certification for your project, while at the same time lowering the overall expenses over the lifetime of the building.
According to these results you can see how important it is to plan your project based off its complete life cycle value, rather than the initial cost. Just because something might cost more upfront doesn’t mean it will be less expensive over the lifetime of the floor.
Read another perspective about Ceramic Tile over Vinyl.